In a recent article on MSN.com entitled, “Don’t Prescribe Drugs for Back Pain, Doctors Told” by Maggie Fox and Jane Derenowski, published on February 14, 2016, indicates that the American College of Physicians (ACP) now recommend non-pharmacologic treatment instead of prescription medication for treating low back pain. Claims professionals in the workers’ compensation industry know that back pain and chronic back pain are the most frequent injuries sustained by injured workers and can include exacerbation and aggravation of pre-existing conditions.
Today, we often see providers recommending medications during the first visit. However, according to the article, the ACP now formally recommends providers first prescribe modalities such as exercise, acupuncture, yoga, massage, electromyography biofeedback, cognitive and spinal manipulation and other treatments, and only consider “opioids as a last option for treatment in patients who have failed other therapies’“. This is a good topic for nurse case managers and defense counsel during doctor conferences in matters involving overutilization, drug seeking claimants, and/or to discourage numerous and costly medications.